Saint Joseph Academy students Diego Sanchez ’24, Julio Silguero ’24 and Alejandro Ramirez ‘23 are back from the 10th annual La Valla Weekend. Organized by the Marist Brothers, this retreat is designed to allow students and an adult chaperone (Teacher Matt Curoe) from the Marist network of schools to enjoy a weekend of prayer, community and service in Esopus, NY. They were joined by Marist schools from New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Canada.
Every retreat, the students are given a task, experience an extreme scenario and see how you get through it using teamwork. This years scenario was a flood. According to Silguero, the groups were given different family roles and different tasks to tackle in the event of a flood.
His family had to build a wall in an effort to stop the water from flowing in. It wasn't easy, he said. "It was hard work for my team and I."
One of the special aspects of these retreats is that students meet other Marist students from all over the country and Canada. One of his favorite parts about the trip was getting to know the different people, sitting outside in the country New York air, talking. "You could speak your mind, everyone was really welcoming, accepting and open minded," he said.
Before the retreat started, students were asked to give up their phones. This turned out to be a good thing for the students. Silguero said by not having so many distractions, he was able to get to know his classmates Sanchez and Ramirez better. "We got to really focus on the retreat and how peacful it all was," he said.
Being around others who hold the same values of service above self, really touched the students. As student of SJA, service is one of the missions and major responsibilities to enabling that mission. It was nice to see other schools who mirrored those same values, he said.